Mazzone’s cheaper energy bill to get committee audience next week

Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)
Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament and chief whip Natasha Mazzone will receive an opportunity to present her private members bill – the Independent Systems and Market Operator Bill – before the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy sometime next week.

This is according to the committee's chair Sahlulele Luzipo, who told the committee on Tuesday morning that the bill was on agenda to be considered.

The bill – commonly referred to as the ISMO Bill or the Cheaper Energy Bill – aims to drive the cost of electricity down, introduce competition into the energy sector and diversify the country's energy sources to introduce more renewables.

The latest version of the bill also suggests the breaking down of Eskom into two separate entities – a move not too dissimilar from the latest interventions into the troubled entity, as mentioned in the Eskom special paper.

Luzipo told the committee that he was advised by committee support staff that the committee was due to consider the bill and give Mazzone an audience to unpack the draft legislation soon.

"A private members bill from Honourable Mazzone on ISMO was received. I am reliably guided that we have to invite her as soon as possible and, depending on her availability, she will come and present the proposed bill. We will then decide the way forward as a committee," said Luzipo.

Luzipo said, in line with the committee’s work, he hoped that Mazzone would be able to brief the committee on the bill "by next week".

"If the member can brief the committee on the bill next week. If she is available next week, we will have to look at one of the two available days which is Tuesday and Thursday," Luzipo said.

Asked by Fin24 to confirm her availability, Mazzone said: "If they just say the word, I will be there and ready".

In October last year, Mazzone and former DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced plans to submit the private member's bill to Parliament, Fin24 previously reported.

Mazzone's bill is a reworked version of another bill first introduced by the energy minister in 2012 to deal with Eskom's conflict of interest as a generator and distributor of electricity. It was later withdrawn in 2014. 

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